A Test of Faith

Beyond the Hills
(Romania/France/Belgium, 150 min.)
Written and directed by Cristian Mungiu
Starring: Cosmina Stratan, Cristina Flutur, Valeriu Andriuta, Dana Tapalaga.
Cristian Mungiu’s 4 Months, 3 Weeks, & 2 Days premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 2007, causing a well-deserved chorus of critical praise that continued long after it won the coveted Palme d’Or. 4 Months is a daring film in both style and substance. It provoked the sense of discovery one always hopes to find on the festival circuit and it led many critics to look closer at Romanian cinema as one of the most exciting new film producers in Europe. Beyond the Hills, Romania's recent Oscar submission and Mungiu’s third feature as a solo director (he collaborated on 2009’s Tales from the Golden Age), unfortunately fails to meet the exceedingly high expectations set by its predecessor.


Immigrant Song

Mad Ship
(Canada, 94 min.)
Dir. David Mortin, Writ. Patricia Fogliato, David Mortin
Starring: Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Line Verndal, Gil Bellows, Martha Burns, Gage Munro, Rachel Blanchard.
Why would anyone move to Manitoba? The prairie isn’t among Canada’s sexier provinces even though it seems like one of the country’s most avant-garde hotbeds thanks to the distorted lens of Guy Maddin. The work of Canada’s most cracked-out auteur makes the province look as if it’s trapped in a continual time warp. Perhaps it is, since most films that emerge from the province are either anachronistic (re: Maddin) or Canadian films of the Anne of Green Gables variety (see: The Stone Angel). Mad Ship, the latest Manitoban movie, falls somewhere in the middle. It has a classical, almost literary aura to it, yet it also is a visually striking piece that finds artfulness in the province’s bland dusty hillsides.



Blood Pressure
(Canada, 94 min.)
Dir. Sean Garrity, Writ. Bill Fugler, Sean Garrity
Starring: Michelle Giroux, Judah Katz, Jonas Chernick, Tatiana Maslany, Jake Epstein, Kristian Bruun, Catherine Disher.
Oh, the bored middle-aged suburban house wife. No other woman, save perhaps the hooker with a heart of gold, enjoys so much pliability. She’s a versatile trope, but also one who’s open to trying new things to re-ignite the spark that’s slowly fading away. Nicole’s life, for example, looks fifty shades of grey as lensed by the cold, almost clinical cinematography in Sean Garrity’s slow-boil thriller Blood Pressure. Played by a spectacular Michelle Giroux, who makes a surprising feature film debut, Nicole is a forty-year old mother living in the GTA who works as a pharmacist and dreams of escape. Somewhere warm, Mexico say, will get her heart racing again.


Dink, Inc.

Lay the Favorite
(USA/UK, 94 min.)
Dir. Stephen Frears, Writ. D.V. DeVincentis
Starring: Rebecca Hall, Bruce Willis, Vince Vaughan, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Joshua Jackson.
I know now why some people defend Showgirls. I watched the notorious 1995 bomb for the first time last weekend. (It was selected by a friend for a group get-together.) Showgirls, the ultimate in so-bad-it’s-good king of turkeydom, shows how a terrible movie can actually make for a great film experience. As friends get together, have a little wine, and become a communal peanut gallery, the folly of Showgirls becomes extremely entertaining, if only for how unfathomably bad it is. Lay the Favorite, on the other hand, does not improve with wine. It, too, is a failure on all fronts, but not in the fun way. It’s the worst kind of bad movie: boring and forgettable.


Win Tickets to an Advance Screening of 'The Sapphires' in Ottawa! (Contest Closed)

Did you miss our first contest to win tickets to see The Sapphires? If so, you’re in luck because eOne Films is having a second Ottawa advance screening of The Sapphires! Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission as they learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Kay (Shari Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (Chris O’Dowd, Bridesmaids), a good-humoured talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. As their manager, Dave books the sisters their first true gig giving them their first taste of stardom, and travels them to Vietnam to sing for American troops.


Parker Posey to Aisle Five, Parker Posey to Aisle Five

Price Check
(USA, 92 min.)
Written and directed by Michael Walker
Starring: Parker Posey, Eric Mabuis, Annie Parisse.
Price Check is a shopping spree of Parker Posey goodness. The Queen of the Indies once again enjoys a great role at bargain bin prices and offers another fun, manic performance. Price Check could have easily gone the way of a clearance sale with another actress in the lead, but Posey’s charm gives the film a decent shelf life.


Playtime with Subtitles

And Nevertheless… (Y, sin embargo)
(Cuba, 84 min.)
Written and directed by Rudy Mora
Starring: Olo Tomayo, Carolina Fernández, Liliana Sosa, Ernesto Escalona, Laura de la Uz, Larisa Vega, Manuel Porto
I’ve never quite seen something like And Nevertheless (Y, sin embargo). It’s the first and only Cuban musical that I’ve ever seen, but that’s not quite what makes the film an anomaly. And Nevertheless, which tells of a group of students that embarks on a hunt to find a flying saucer when their classmate Lapatun (Olo Tomayo) cites a UFO as his reason for being late to an exam, feels like a kids’ movie for grown-ups. It’s closest companion might be Moonrise Kingdom, but that’s a bit of a stretch, since Sam and Suzy never broke into song during their coming of age adventure.


Worth the Admission?

(USA, 117 min.)
Dir. Paul Weitz, Writ Karen Croner
Starring: Tina Fey, Paul Rudd, Nat Wolff, Michael Sheen, Gloria Reuben, Wallace Shawn, and Lily Tomlin.
Tina Fey stars in Admission, an eOne Films release.
Photo: David Lee / eOne Films.
Princeton is not for everyone. I might sound like an underachiever for saying that, but the hoity-toityness of the Ivy League doesn’t cater to all kinds of learners. Poncey Princeton breeds a certain kind of humour, like clowns of the sycophantic, pompous Jack Donaghy variety. Some pupils are more Bush League material. The Liz Lemon types, perhaps: awkward, clumsy, “special.” How appropriate, then, that Liz Lemon herself makes a farce of Princeton pretension in the amicable Bush League comedy Admission.

Cinephiles: Happiness is Coming!

(Chile/USA, 110 min.)
Dir. Pablo Larrain, Writ. Pedro Peirano
Starring: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antónia Zegers.

♫♪Chile: Happiness is coming! ♪♫
♫♪Chile: Happiness is coming! ♪♫
♫♪Chile: Happiness is coming! ♪♫

You’ll have the jingle from No in your head for days after seeing the film. It’s no wonder that the story of the campaign it dramatizes was a victory that led Chile to freedom. No is an easy checkmark on the list of films to see this year.


A Tangled Web

(USA/UK, 99 min.)
Dir. Chan-wook Park, Writ. Wentworth Miller
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Phyllis Somerville, Jacki Weaver, Dermot Mulroney.
Chan-wook Park spins an elaborate spider web with Stoker. A spider web is a strange, spindly thing. It can be ugly, repulsive even, if it’s found in the wrong place. (Your tooth brush, maybe.) Spider webs, however, can be beautiful if one sees them in the proper place and if the light catches them just right. (Especially if there’s a few water droplets to give the web some style.) Stoker, strangely, finds both the ugliness and the beauty of the spider web, as the lines of the script leave numerous gaps, which the director fortunately fills in with pizzazz. Stoker shows what an extremely talented director can do with an intriguing, but sloppy script.


Clown with a Frown

The Clown (O Palhaço)
(Brazil, 88 min.)
Dir. Selton Mello, Writ. Selton Mello, Marcelo Vindicato
Starring: Selton Mello, Paulo José, Larissa Manuela, Giselle Motta, Teuda Bara.
Brazil’s political system looked like a bit of a three-ring circus when a clown was elected to Congress in 2010. Grumpy, aka Francisco Oliveira Silva, reportedly took over 1.3 million votes—nearly double the tally received by the runner up—and rode the clown car all the way to public office. Grumpy made quite a farce of his campaign, running with signs and a YouTube campaign that read, “It can’t get any worse.” Grumpy, regardless of all his shenanigans, inadvertently showed what a clown could contribute to society thanks to his ability to make people laugh through stupid, selfless humour.

Hot Docs Completes Line-up

The Manor
The official programme has been announced for the 2013 Hot Docs Film Festival. Hot Docs will present a total of 205 documentaries this year, which were selected from an impressive pool of 2386 submissions. This year’s line-up features 44 world premieres and includes a commendable 51 Canadian films. Hot Docs will kick-off the festival with the world premiere of the Canadian doc The Manor. Directed by Shawney Cohen, who makes his feature debut as a director, The Manor follows Cohen’s return to his family’s strip club/motel in small town Ontario where he reflects upon the livelihood of his (dys)functional family. The Manor kicks off the festival when Hot Docs begins on April 25. The full list of films can be found here.


'The Lesser Blessed' Trailer

New trailer for The Lesser Blessed, which I reviewed back at TIFF. It's an "important" film, if I do say so myself! Coming soon to theatres!

'Rebelle' Dominates Quebec's Prix Jutra

Rachel Mwanza in Rebelle
After sweeping the Canadian Screen Awards a few weeks ago, Rebelle (War Witch) has dominated the kudos for Quebec's Prix Jutras. The Jutras, named after filmmaker Claude Jutra, are Quebec's highest film honour. Rebelle more or less performed a cut and paste job with the CSAs and the Jutras by repeating its wins in most categories. I'm disappointed that this coup meant another loss for Laurence Anyways star Suzanne Clément, who didn't get the recognition she deserved from Canadian voters. Best Actor, however, went to Julien Poulin for his commanding performance in Camion, which I had the fortune to see last week at DiverCiné. Xavier Dolan's Laurence Anyways rounded out the list of the night's winners, as it took home three artistic awards. Rebelle and Laurence Anyways led the nominations going in with nine nominations apiece. Rebelle took home eight trophies.

Best Film

Rebelle/War Witch



Le Truck Driver

(Canada, 95 min.)
Written and directed by Rafaël Ouellet
Starring: Julien Poulin, Patrice Dubois, Stéphane Breton, Maude Giguère, Jacob Tierney.
“Je me souviens.” The famous Québécois slogan, etched by Eugène-Étienne Taché into the stone of Parliament below Quebec’s coat of arms, roughly translates to “I remember.” The phrase has an ambiguous meaning for Anglophone Canadians—or it at least exists in the sense that we can grasp it, but never fully comprehend it—but it celebrates in a simple three word phrase a rich culture that exists within a larger nation. To remember means to keep something alive.


Win Tickets to see 'The Sapphires' in Ottawa! (Contest Closed)

I didn’t get a chance to see it at TIFF last year, but I heard people raving about The Sapphires all throughout the festival. Inspired by a true story, The Sapphires follows four vivacious, young and talented Australian Aboriginal girls from a remote mission as they learn about love, friendship and war when their all girl group The Sapphires entertains the U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Cynthia (Miranda Tapsell), Gail (Deborah Mailman), Julie (Jessica Mauboy) and Kay (Shari Sebbens) are discovered by Dave (Chris O’Dowd, Bridesmaids), a good-humoured talent scout with a kind heart, very little rhythm but a great knowledge of soul music. As their manager, Dave books the sisters their first true gig giving them their first taste of stardom, and travels them to Vietnam to sing for American troops.

CFI's Latin American Film Festival Ready to Heat Up Ottawa Screens

As Ottawa enjoyed a little dusting of snow in the midst of a spring thaw, the Canadian Film Institute forecast sunny days ahead for film buffs in the National Capital. The CFI unveiled today the programme for its upcoming Latin American Film Festival. Now in its 17th year, LAFF remains one of the CFI’s most popular and diverse cultural offerings. The launch took place at the Cuban Embassy - cigars and Cuba Libres were not part of the festivities, unfortunately, but coffee and cookies added to the cheery mood. The event included the premiere of the festival’s official trailer (see below) and the unveiling of the official poster (above), which was designed by La Cité Collégial student Luc Groulx and was selected as the winner of an annual competition for students to make the promo art for the festival.

Faith in the Family

The Virgin, the Copts, and Me (La Vierge, les Coptes, et moi)
(France/Egypt/Qatar, 85 min.)
Dir. Namir Abdel Messeh, Writ. Namir Abdel Messeh, Nathalie Najem, Anne Paschetta
With the declaration of Habemus Papam fresh out of the oven, Wednesday felt like an unbelievably lucky night for DiverCiné to have programmed the French/Egyptian/Qatari co-production The Virgin, the Copts, and Me (La Vierge, les Coptes, et moi). On a day on which #VeronicaMars was out-trending #PopeFrancisI, this documentary’s comical exploration of faith in the new millennium seemed especially appropriate. Director Namir Abdel Messeh takes a sceptical look at the mania of the Catholic Church by exploring a few acts of divine apparition that have graced his native Egypt over the years. The erratic filmmaker, however, enjoys a shotgun-style of filmmaking and eventually sets his sights on a subject that could restore viewers’ faith in the family.


Jack: An Underdog Story

(Canada, 88 min.)
Dir. Jeff Woolnough; Writ. Andrew Wreggitt (story & teleplay), Shelley Erikson (story)
Starring: Rick Roberts, Sook-Yin Lee, Wendy Crewson, Zachary Bennett, Joel S. Keller, Diana Ha, Erin Karpluk.
Who can forget the 2011 Federal Election? It was my first—and probably only—contract as a poll clerk. (I was actually promoted to DRO during the election since my superior left the poll to go to the bathroom and she never came back.) Upon counting the ballots, I noticed a surprising tally in the Conservative stronghold of Nepean-Carleton. Although the blue team won by a landslide, some ballots revealed an unexpected number of Left-leaning individuals in the suburban Right-wing sinkhole of Bells Corners. The NDP trounced the Liberals at my poll, but I assumed that the upset was mostly due to a weak candidate for the Grits.

Bedtime Story Springs to Life

Ernest et Célestine
(France/Belgium/Luxembourg, 79 min.)
Dir. Benjamin Renner, Vincent Patar, Stéphanie Aubier; Writ. Daniel Pennac
Starring: Lambert Wilson, Pauline Brunner.
Courtesy of Mongrel Media
Crack the spine and curl up with some popcorn, for Ernest et Célestine is a bedtime story come alive. This French animated film—winner of the César (French Oscar) for Best Animated Film—is vivaciously adorable and extraordinarily rendered. The joy of watching the painterly cartoons and reading the subtitles makes the experience of Ernest et Célestine much like reading a children’s story and watching it spring to life from the pages of the book.


The Girl who Goes All Hollywood

Dead Man Down
(USA, 110 min.)
Dir. Niels Arden Oplev, Writ. J.H. Wyman
Starring: Colin Farrell, Noomi Rapace, Terrence Howard, Dominic Cooper, Isabelle Huppert.
Dead Man Down is a disappointing reunion for the director and star of the Swedish adaptation of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Noomi Rapace holds up nicely, as does Niels Arden Oplev’s steely cold style, but this revenge thriller lacks Tattoo’s spark. Like Tattoo, Dead Man Down is a stylish, character-driven actioner, but it’s more on par with The Girl who Played with Fire if one seeks a Swedish equivalent.


Wandering in Relativity

(Canada, 95 min.)
Written and directed by Neeko Paluzzi
Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity features a bunch of complex concepts that an artistically minded person like myself will never fully comprehend. The gist of it, I gather, is that people perceive things differently based on the frame of reference from which they are observing. Time can be experienced differently for two people, depending on what they’re looking at and how they’re looking at it. Regardless of my convoluted grasp of Dr. Einstein, his theory of relativity offers a stirring theoretical footnote to Wanderweg, Neeko Paluzzi’s beautiful self-portrait on how we observe our place in the world.


Special Effects Wizard

Oz: The Great and Powerful
(USA, 130 min.)
Dir. Sam Raimi, Writ. Mitchell Kapner and David Lindsay-Abaire
Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Rachel Weisz, Michelle Williams, Zach Braff.
The sexy witches from Cabin in the Woods have escaped, and they are hiding in the land of Oz. Oz: The Great and Powerful offers a feisty Betty and Veronica tale between the good witch Glinda (Michelle Williams) and her wicked sisters (Mila Kunis and Rachel Weisz). Betty and Veronica might be as old as The Wizard of Oz is (they’re two years younger than the 1939 film), so this new take on Oz might not sit comfortably with a contemporary audience thanks to some classic-era gender roles. Antiquated views on femininity aside, the film provides its three leading ladies with some entertaining parts. Thank goodness for Weisz, Williams, and Kunis’s turns as the scene-stealing sorceresses, since this origins story of the Wizard of Oz conjures little magic from the wizard himself.


Hot Docs Announces First Films of 'Special Presentations' Program

Our Nixon
The Hot Docs International Documentary Film Festival has announced the first 28 titles of the Special Presentations program for the 2013 edition of the festival. Special Presentations includes some of the most high-profile films at Hot Docs, so this roster of selections includes some notable world premieres, subjects, and award winners from other festivals. The line-up features three world premieres so far: Caucus, Prepare for the Worst, and The Unbelievers. Among the features with star subjects are the Pussy Riot film Pussy Riot – A Punk Prayer, which won a special jury prize at Sundance, and Which Way is the Front Line From Here?, which looks at the life of late documentary filmmaker Tim Hetherington. The first of these 28 films that will be pencilled into my schedule is the Canadian premiere of Penny Lane’s Our Nixon, a documentary that examines an exhaustive array of archival footage to offer a unique and intimate portrait of former American President Richard Nixon. Lane appeared at Ottawa’s Saw Video earlier this year and included a selection of footage from Our Nixon as part of her show. The sample was quite exciting, so I’m keen to see the final cut. Our Nixon comes to Hot Docs after its world premiere at SXSW.

Hot Docs will announce the full list of titles for the festival on March 19, including the festival’s opening night film. Hot Docs runs April 25 – May 5.

The first titles are:


'Frances Ha' Trailer

Ahoy, sexy! A trailer has arrived for the delightful comedy Frances Ha. Greta Gerwig gives her best performance yet in the title role of this story of a starving artist with her head in the clouds. Gerwig co-wrote the screenplay with director Noah Baumbach, who delivers his most optimistic film to date. Shot in eclectic black and white, Frances Ha could very well be the Manhattan the current generation of hopeless wanderers endowed with useless arts degrees. (It also features the next generation of Streep, aka Grace Gummer, which is an event in itself since Manhattan was one of Meryl's milestones.) I caught Frances Ha back at TIFF and raved about it, so I can't wait to see it when it opens in theatres this May. Greta Gerwig for everything!!!

Win Tickets to 'Admission' in Ottawa! (Contest Closed)

Now is the time of year when high school seniors are learning the fate of their university admission. To help ease the stress of graduation, Admission offers a funny look at the stressful life of one university admissions officer, played by Tina Fey (Date Night, 30 Rock). Fey and Paul Rudd (I Love You Man, Knocked Up) star in Admission, the new film directed by Academy Award nominee Paul Weitz (About a Boy), about the surprising detours we encounter on the road to happiness. Straight-laced Princeton University admissions officer Portia Nathan (Fey) is caught off-guard when she makes a recruiting visit to an alternative high school overseen by her former college classmate, the free-wheeling John Pressman (Rudd). Pressman has surmised that Jeremiah (Nat Wolff), his gifted yet very unconventional student, might well be the son that Portia secretly gave up for adoption many years ago. Soon, Portia finds herself bending the rules for Jeremiah, putting at risk the life she thought she always wanted -- but in the process finding her way to a surprising and exhilarating life and romance she never dreamed of having.


Win Tickets to 'Dead Man Down' in Ottawa! (Contest Closed)

Any fans of the Millennium trilogy out there? If yes, you’ll want to see the upcoming thriller Dead Man Down. Following the cinematic phenomenon The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, acclaimed filmmaker Niels Arden Oplev and brooding beauty Noomi Rapace reunite for another thrilling tale of vengeance. Colin Farrell (Seven Psychopaths) joins the prestigious team as brave enforcer Victor, right hand man to an underground crime lord in New York City. He seeks to avenge the death of his wife and daughter caused by his boss. When his employer is threatened by a mysterious killer, Victor also becomes detective. Victor is seduced and blackmailed by Beatrice (Rapace), a victim turned avenger whose intense chemistry leads them spiraling into payback delivered in violent catharsis. From producer Neal Moritz (The Fast and the Furious franchise, I Am Legend) and Joel Wyman (Fringe, Keen Eddie) comes a powerful portrait of the relationship between two people caught in the crosshairs of revenge.

Canadian Screen Awards: 'War Witch' Dominates First Film/TV Soirée

Rachel Mwanza (centre) with producers Marie-Claude Poulin and Pierre Even
Wow. War Witch continues to be a nation’s pride after representing Canada at last week’s Academy Awards. War Witch (Rebelle) dominated the film competition at the inaugural Canadian Screen Awards, winning an impressive ten statuettes including Best Film, Best Director for Kim Nguyen, and Best Actress for Rachel Mwanza’s quietly commanding lead performance. Mwanza’s win bookends War Witch’s success, as the young actress threw the film into the spotlight when she won Best Actress at the Berlin Film Festival early last year. The CSAs capped off a big week for Mwanza, as she joined the War Witch team at the Academy Awards.


Canadian Screen Awards: Film Winners

Rachel Mwanza in Rebelle, winner of 10 Canadian Screen Awards
It's a Rebelle sweep! Kim Nguyen's film nets 10 awards including Best Film, Best Director, and Best Actress. The broadcast is just wrapping up, so I'll have thoughts on Canada's inaugural film/tv/digital media event shortly.

Best Film

Rebelle/War Witch


Achievement in Direction

Kim Nguyen - Rebelle/War Witch

Best Actor

James Cromwell - Still Mine

Best Actress

  Rachel Mwanza - Rebelle/War Witch

Best Supporting Actor

Serge Kanyinda - Rebelle/War Witch

Best Supporting Actress

Seema Biswas - Midnight’s Children (hooray!)

Adapted Screenplay

Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie

Original Screenplay

Rebelle/War Witch, Kim Nguyen 

Ted Rogers Best Feature Length Documentary Award

Sponsor: Rogers Group of Funds
Stories We Tell - Sarah Polley, Anita Lee (well deserved!!!)


Achievement in Art Direction/Production Design

Rebelle/War Witch – Emmanuel Frechette, Josée Arsenault

Achievement in Cinematography

Sponsor: Christie Digital
Rebelle/War Witch  – Nicolas Bolduc

Achievement in Costume Design

Laurence Anyways – Xavier Dolan, François Barbeau


Achievement in Editing:

Rebelle/War Witch  – Richard Comeau

Achievement in Make-up

Laurence Anyways

Achievement in Music – Original Score

Cosmopolis – Howard Shore

Achievement in Music – Original Song

(Sponsor: Slaight Music)
Cosmopolis, “Long to Live” – Emily Haines, James Shaw, Howard Shore

Achievement in Overall Sound

Sponsor: Deluxe Toronto Ltd.

Achievement in Sound Editing


Achievement in Visual Effects

Resident Evil: Retribution

Best Short Documentary

Sponsor: Hot Docs  
The Boxing Girls of Kabul - Ariel Nasr, Annette Clarke (Watch)

Best Live Action Short

Throat Song - Miranda de Pencier, Stacey Aglok MacDonal

Best Animated Short

Paula - Dominic Étienne Simard, Julie Roy (watch)

Golden Reel

Resident Evil: Retribution

Winners in TV and Digital Media

Cold Case Digs Up Rare Find

The Aztec Box
(USA, 113 min.)
Written and directed by Serge Bronstein
Starring: Nick Uzarski, Brisa Freitas, Suziey Block, Hans Hernke
The police of Riverside, California, received reports of a strange incident on the night of June 16th, 2012. The calls led them to a bizarre crime scene at a small suburban home. Several bodies remained in what appeared to be evidence of a satanic ritual. The house, which was leased by four college students, was rigged with close circuit cameras and contained an archive of over 600 hours of video footage. The Riverside PD have condensed the home video and CCTV footage and released it to the public in hopes that it will offer clues to fresh eyes.


'This is Not a Kids' Movie'

The Suicide Shop (Le magasin des suicides)
(France/Canada/Belgium, 79 min.)
Written and directed by Patrice Leconte
Starring: Bernard Alane, Isabelle Spade, Kacey Mottet Klein, Isabelle Giami, Laurent Gendron.
What is it about death and pigeons? Michael Haneke’s Amour, for example, features two startlingly ambiguous moments in which pigeons provide comic relief from a sombre tale of death. A fleeting image of mortality, Haneke’s pigeon unsettles you in the way that an aerial assault from the dirty bird would ruin your day. Another French master, Patrice Leconte, opens his film with a pigeon flight of life and death. As one pigeon flies through the air during the opening sequence of The Suicide Shop and navigates the human bodies that drop from the sky, its animated eyes and funny jowls set the mood for a comical affair. Then the pigeon joins its mates on a lamppost right before one of its comrades says adieu and dive bombs to the sidewalk. This is not a kids’ movie.